A Preview Without Much Adieu

13 Jan

After Kenz posted, I just knew I had to follow up with something of my own to give a sample of what’s to come.  I have a tendency to want to talk, (nee, have my opinions heard, make people laugh, tell stories at great and absolutely necessary length) quite a lot.  As it happens, today I arrived at a conclusion to one of my many splendid tales, so lucky you: you get to hear all about it!  This is just a pitch-perfect example of how my situation in the world is always made more awkward than it should be –I refuse to believe this has anything to do with the way I am.

Our tale begins just a few short weeks ago.  I was lucky enough to have my first extended Christmas break since college, and was enjoying it thoroughly with my family and friends in Iowa.  On this particular night, I was sitting at my dad’s place with my family, and, randomly, an employee of my dad’s who (I was told) I had once met when I was 12.  I tend to block memories of my early middle school years since they bring visions of me wearing what I believed to be my cool Nike tomboy gear and along with my permed hair, so of course I didn’t remember this guy.

Anyway, I chose this time to whip out my laptop to begin sifting through all of the school e-mails I had been ignoring for a couple weeks.  As I read and deleted my way through my inbox, I came across a very strange message from an e-mail address I didn’t recognize.  The first thing that got my attention was the subject line ‘Hello new maybe-roomie!’  I was a little nervous about this since I knew my apartment buidling, which is owned by my school, was probably going to place me with a new person since my last roommate had left to return to her home university in Japan.  I had gotten along very well with this roommate (I helped her with difficult English-language problems such as how Kleenex mean tissue, and BandAid means protective bandage, and she made me miso soup –it was a beautiful pairing) so I knew I probably couldn’t get so lucky again.

Little did I know what I was about to read . . .

Her e-mail, by some, could be called “quirky” or maybe even “interesting”.  To a girl like me who likes people, clean living spaces, and trying to avoid those crazy folks who tend to make life difficult, it screamed “WARNING: YOU WILL SPEND THE NEXT 5 MONTHS LIVING UNCOMFORTABLY IN YOUR OWN APARTMENT!”  I had to read the message out loud to my family members and our guest to make sure it wasn’t as crazy as it sounded in my head.  Funny enough, out loud, it sounded even crazier.  Here’s what it said:

I’m writing this on my phone from the airport, so I beg you’ll forgive any grammar or typing hitches.
Gabriele brought you up to me as a possible new roommate, so I thought I’d best fill you in about myself a bit.
I’m a nontraditional undergrad, 29, majoring in japanese and slated to graduate this may.  I’m a bit of a hermit-I’m scared of crowds and my many allergies include alcohol, smoke, and penicillin, so I find it safer to stay home with my computer. 🙂
I’m a bit of a slob by necessity-my chronic PCOS ( http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polycystic_ovary_syndrome ) means I only have so much energy per day, and cleanup generally gets short shrift-you can find an explanation of this sort of life at http://www.butyoudontlooksick.com/articles/written-by-christine/the-spoon-theory-written-by-christine-miserandino/ . You won’t be living in complete filth, though! I’m allergic to mold, so I try to clean up in places like the kitchen (meaning dishes done and trash taken out) every few days.
I don’t tend to have visitors. You can have as many as you please, but it’s nice to have a little bit of warning first-a text message would do fine.
I’m prone to insomnia, but I do my best to stay quiet when others are asleep, and that’s sometimes when the dishes get done, so it has its upsides. 🙂
I play music pretty much constantly, but if you want it turned down just say the word.  I also proofread essays. 🙂
I hope you can get along with such a prize of a roomie as I make. If you think you might be able to stand me, or if you’d like to meet (I’m on my way back for the term as I write this), please let me know.

I feel that I am (mostly) a rational person who tries to approach the world with common sense, as well as a respect for the feelings of my fellow man.  However, my initial response was not a sympathetic thought to the condition of this person, but an inner monologue that shouted “Who starts an e-mail listing their allergies and disorders? How can anyone go days without taking care of the trash and dishes?  HOW IS THERE A SITE CALLED BUTYOUDONTLOOKSICK.COM??”  Judge me if you will, but what if you received this e-mail?  I rest my case.

Upon hearing the entire e-mail, my family and random friend all came to the same conclusion which I hadn’t thought of in my panic: it was a joke.  They noted the stark difference between her traits and mine (i.e., our different feelings about having guests, our views on cleanliness, whether or not to let perfect strangers in on our disorders, etc) as well as the fact that I had no idea who Gabriele was, and decided that someone had cleverly played at my fear of receiving a bad roommate.  Since I could think of a couple people who knew me well enough and had the means to pull the prank, I thought they must be right.  This was further confirmed to me when I shared the e-mail with my mom, stepdad, and Kenz who also immediately believed it to be a joke.  My fears being quelled by their assurance, I almost forgot the whole situation.

Until Monday . . .

I returned to Boulder this week to prep for a very full spring semester which will include classes, a teaching position, and a part-time job in sales, among other activities.  I was reading my school e-mail when I came upon a very disturbing message.  Gabriele (yes, the Gabriele who had been mentioned in the painfully awkward e-mail) had forwarded me a message stating I had a new roommate situation.  It was crazy girl.  She was (and is) real, and she would be arriving on Wednesday morning.  It was at this time 3:00 on Monday.  I was livid.

I immediately e-mailed my mom, my stepdad, and Kenz to let out all of my anger and panic steam that had built up in a matter of minutes toward Gabriele and her inability to let me know that she is giving my e- mail to crazy people and not letting me know in time that I’m living with them.  After I sent the message, I started to feel guilty.  I have always prided myself on being very tolerant, and it’s not like I haven’t had wacky roommate situations in the past.  In fact, I’ve had plenty of them (more on that later).  I started to talk myself down by reminding myself how busy I would be, how I had dealt with worse things before, and how I probably karmically deserved it for something I had done in the past (though I’ve only been Catholic for part of my life and am only an occasional church-goer, the guilt has always been there).  To further calm myself, I decided to stalk my soon-to-be-roomie on Facebook to prepare myself for what she might be like.  It didn’t exactly help, since this is what I found:

I have colored over her eyes as to respect her privacy, but trust me, the way they look in this photo did nothing to make me feel better.  Instead, I went into “Hell No” hypermode.  I think you will agree that this person does not look like your average, somewhat-matured 29-year-old who can take care of themself; she appears to be, in my opinion, an overgrown 13-year-old.  Fact: I do not want to live with an overgrown 13-year-old.  It was at this point that I had to realize that a lot of my ability to tolerate some of the nonesense of life has left me in my old age (hey, I turned 26 this week).  The college years are rife with crazy roommates.  It’s a good thing; it builds character the same way that having siblings, or working a sales job, or sitting at the DMV does.  It makes you learn to get along with people.  But now, being at least a shell of an adult, I think I’ve earned my due of having a roommate who, even if I don’t love them, is not someone who wears t-shirts of hybrid watermelon/lizard creatures in indigenous garb and is worried about me pushing penicillin on them.

Fast forward through a week of me announcing my concerns (calmly) to the staff of my building and them very unprofessionally blowing me off several times until we arrive at this morning.  Fate would have it that I ran into one of my buidling coordinators in the hallway who let me know that I would be receiving a different roommate.  A 26-year-old, as luck would have it, and (he thinks) a grad student.  I received the name of this new roommate from Inept Gabriele this morning and have of course already taken the opportunity to stalk her.  From the little I’ve seen, she already appears to be a vast improvement, and I look forward to meeting her tomorrow.

In conclusion, I ultimately learned something about my growing adult self and what levels of chaos I can and cannot manage.  I hope you can learn something from my shortcomings.

Also, if you ever find yourself in this situation, fight.  Fight hard.  Fight to the death because, for the love of God, there’s only so much one human can handle.

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